Acclaimed chef shutters his Katy street food concept for a Phat benefit
It will soon be a little easier to get a table at Katy's best restaurant, but the change comes at a cost. Chef-owner Alex Au-Yeung announced he's expanding Phat Eatery by closing Yelo, its adjacent sister concept devoted to street food.
Yelo will close this Sunday, September 4. Phat Eatery will close for two weeks at the end of September to facilitate the renovations. When it reopens in October, the expanded Phat Eatery will offer a private dining room that seats 30 people, and total capacity will increase to 130.
As Au-Yeung explains, he made a business decision to expand Phat Eatery and close Yelo. Simply put, diners will spend more money per person dining in at Phat Eatery than they will on sandwiches and noodle bowls at grab-and-go Yelo.
“It is a very tough decision,” Au-Yeung said in a statement. “We spent a lot of time and effort building the Yelo concept, yet despite seeing steadily increasing business, that space will ultimately better serve our guests and staff as an extension of Phat Eatery.”
First opened in 2021, Yelo initially focused on a menu of both traditional and creative banh mi developed by Au-Yeung and chef Cuc Lam. After Lam departed, Au-Yeung expanded the restaurant into a broader street food concept centered around hand-pulled noodles, dumplings, Phat Eatery's signature beef rendang in San Francisco-style bread bowls. Thankfully, many of those dishes will find their way onto Phat Eatery's menu, and all of Yelo's current employees have been offered jobs at Phat Eatery.
Opened in 2018 in the Katy Asian Town development, Phat Eatery serves Au-Yeung’s eclectic take on Malaysian fare. Over time, the menu has evolved to include Malaysian staples such as roti canai, curry laksa, and beef rendang alongside Hong Kong-style dim sum such as shrimp siu mai and bbq pork buns.
All of that creativity has brought Phat Eatery considerable acclaim. Au-Yeung earned a James Beard Award semifinalist nomination this year in the Best Chef: Texas category as well as being named a finalist for both Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year in the CultureMap Tastemaker Awards. The New York Times cited it as one example of a great restaurant that had opened in the suburbs of a major city.
Au-Yeung will open a second location of Phat Eatery in The Woodlands early next year. Located in a former Fuddruckers, the new restaurant will serve Malaysian dishes, dim sum, and Chinese barbecue.